Sid and Steve are Bearded Dragons, and came complete with tank, sand, heaters, thermometers, salad and crickets (dinner). The crickets had their own little cage. Obviously as a vegetarian, grabbing crickets with tweezers and sending them to their deaths isn't pleasant, but I suspect they don't live too long naturally, and Sid and Steve have to eat, I doubt they like falafel or tofu.
I posted the above photo on my facebook page and it got the highest views I have ever had for a post; never mind the artwork, lizards are so much more interesting than a load of old paintings. A less optimistic person might be depressed by these statistics.
Sid and Steve were fun; they wanted to come out all the time. Sid climbed a lot and Steve systematically rid my studio of spiders by eating them. "Oh my god, Steve ate a spider! Is he supposed to do that?!" screeched the teen. Steve however just looked smug. Letting them have the exercise they wanted was challenging as the temperature climbed into the 30's and I had to keep the door and windows shut because of the cat. I can't say for sure that my furry friend would hurt them, but his general rule is: if it moves, slaughter it. So I wasn't taking any chances.
Whilst not messing around with lizards I was painting obviously. I am trying to find more interesting and challenging subjects and this painting of sunflowers behind a local church certainly was that.
I have always wanted to paint one of those of scenes where poppies or wheat are large in the foreground and go right back into a distant landscape scene. I have never had the right photos, until my daughter's most recent orthodontist appointment. Instead of coming directly home from Haverhill (known uncharitably around here as Chaverhill - ahem), I decided to cut across to Halstead and drop some of my art class leaflets off at the library. The teen spotted a small field next to the road, chock full of poppies and with a pull in for the car. Perfect, now I have the photos I need.
As I lay on the ground and snapped away, the teen hovered about the edge of the field, occasionally wandering into shot. "Yeah" she said, "did a titanic pose..."
I had no idea what she was talking about until I found this:
Another trip out came when I travelled to London with some of my art class for the SAA 'It's all about art' event in Islington. Here is Mr Mathew Palmer doing one of the many demo's:
The event was much improved on the last time I went, the demos and workshops more accessible, and my students joined in and had a go, painting with some of the countries' top teaching artists whilst I checked out new types of paper and drooled over mount cutting systems I can't afford. Not everyone was happy with the artistic results they got, amusingly I saw one lady in the toilets stuffing her artwork into the bin! What hadn't improved since last time was the appalling lack of air conditioning and I was full of admiration for the demonstrators, on their feet all day without wilting. I do hope they paid them well, in fact this business being what it is, I just hope they paid them!
Back home and I had to steward the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists' show at the Edmund Gallery at Bury St Edmunds. I got there a little early and sneaked into the Abbey Gardens for an icecream. I took some photos of the area called the Sensory Garden, I love the wooden structures and again I think it may be a painting subject for the future.
As the summer holidays have kicked in I am not teaching my regular Saturday art class, but there is an informal list of outdoor meet ups where we can paint together, weather allowing. This week the weather was delightful and although I was late due to private tuition sessions, I caught up with four of them here, on the edge of Cornard Country Park. The views were fabulous, and another chance to get some landscape shots:
Planning to paint my poppy field next I got ready to print a photo... and the printer wouldn't work. I spoke severely to it, but it wouldn't listen. Having several hours to wait until my you-name-it-he-can-fix-it boyfriend got back from work I admitted defeat and instead selected a photo of some pink poppies in a flowerbed, photographed last summer at Layer Marney Towers.
It is a large painting, and like the sunflowers/church is taking some time. So far I have spent at least 15 hours on it, and I am only just over half way through:
So far I am happy with it, let us hope it is worth all the effort when it is completed!